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Other Questions. - Dublin Transportation Office.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 57. Mr. Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the number of meetings and their agendas with the DTO. [23533/02]

[33]Mr. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I have had two meetings with the Dublin Transportation Office. The first meeting took place on Monday, 1 July, at which I received a presentation on the DTO's work. A subsequent meeting took place with a smaller delegation from the DTO on 15 July.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten Where are the new signs for Dublin city which the Minister was supposed to amend? They have not reappeared on the streets.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I am told that Dublin City Council is concluding its consideration of the design of the new signs and that it will be in a position to put forward proposals shortly.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten Will they be a Christmas present?

Mr. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan Santa Claus.

Mr. Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As regards the Minister's meetings with the DTO, the DTO was responsible for the initial metro plans for Dublin. During the summer the Minister said publicly that the plans had been changed in that the metro would not go from the airport to his constituency, but would only go as far as the city centre. Has the Minister liaised with the DTO about this proposal? Has a strategic review been carried out to determine the transport and planning implications of not running a metro link to his constituency? Does he envisage a further meeting with the DTO prior to the completion of the rail procurement study on the metro options to see whether it is right to go ahead with a rail link from the airport to the city centre at this stage?

Mr. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan The Railway Procurement Agency is examining the metro project. I have asked it to extract from its considerations the possibility of a link from the city centre to Dublin Airport. A modern airport must have a rail link and it is considering that proposition. There are a number of alternatives to provide that. One is the metro, while another is to take some spurs off the existing rail network. As regards the metro in general, the Railway Procurement Agency is about to submit to me what it calls a business case. Funding has not yet been identified for the metro project. Its final design is still a substantial way off. However, I have asked the agency to focus on the metro link to the airport and to bring that forward because that is the heart of it.

As regards our constituency, the proposed Luas will run from Sandyford to St. Stephen's Green. The RPA has proposals to convert that to the metro at a later stage. That will ensure the metro will run from Sandyford and perhaps further.

Mr. Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Given that funding is not available and that there are no designs for the metro, will the Minister consider reverting to plan B, which was included in the original DTO proposal, to provide extensive other light rail routes [34] around the city, one of which would go into our shared constituency in Rathfarnham? That would be a substantially cheaper option. Will the Minister consider other light rail routes instead of the metro if funding is not provided for it?

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall The proposed rail link from the city centre to the airport is a central plank of the DTO's strategy. Given the lack of funding, the serious delays and the fact that public consultation on the proposed routes has not yet commenced, does the Minister accept that not only will his own target date of 2005 not be met, but the original DTO target date of 2007 will not be met? Has he had discussions with or received proposals from the authorities in Croke Park to link the proposed airport line to the Croke Park area to alleviate traffic congestion there?

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten As regards the Minister's meetings with the DTO, did he discuss Operation Freeflow? Have there been discussions with the DTO about the Luas works in the city centre which will cause congestion during the Christmas period? Have there been discussions with the DTO about faulty traffic lights in the city centre? There were two recent incidents involving faulty traffic lights, one happened on a Sunday morning and the other happened in the afternoon before rush hour. If traffic lights are faulty in the city centre or on the outskirts, the city will grind to a halt. Has the Minister proposals to deal with that issue?

Mr. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan As regards Deputy Eamon Ryan's question about other light rail projects, I do not have proposals for additional light rail extensions at this time. There is a general proposal for an extension to Cherrywood and another idea – I cannot put it any stronger – about a route to Rathfarnham. There are no firm proposals in the latter case. However, fairly advanced proposals are being considered by the RPA in the former case.

Deputy Shortall asked me about my target for the airport link. I would like to have it completed by 2005 if I can. I have been criticised for giving dates and trying to get things done on target. The danger of not doing that is that one does not meet targets. I had the same difficulty with the penalty points system. However, by choosing a target and trying to keep to it, we were able to make it happen. By setting deadlines, I run the risk of not meeting them, for which I will be criticised. However, I prefer to take that risk, to set a deadline and see if we can reach it by pushing the system towards it. I have not had discussions with Croke Park about the rail link.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall Has the Minister received proposals?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison Zoom on Séamus Pattison We cannot have an interruption at this stage. We must move on.

[35]Mr. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I might have. As regards Operation Freeflow, I understand it will operate again this year.

Written Answers follow Adjournment Debate.


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